EcoRise to Host Inaugural D.C. Student Innovation Showcase


Join area students and staff, elected officials, local organizations, EcoRise, and the USGBC to celebrate school sustainability and student innovation.

Washington, D.C., May 25, 2018—EcoRise will host its First D.C. Student Innovation Showcase at the offices of the U. S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in Washington, D.C. on May 31, 2018 from 5:00 p.m.–6:30 p.m. With the goal of inspiring a new generation of innovators, the showcase will feature select EcoRise Eco-Audit Grant recipients from D.C. Public Schools, Fairfax County Public Schools, and schools participating in the Office of the State Superintendent of Education’s (OSSE) Environmental Literacy Leadership Cadre.

EcoRise’s Eco-Audit Grant Program awards funding to help K–12 students “green” their schools. Over $9,000 in micro-grants was awarded to 14 student teams at seven schools in the D.C. area this school year. To receive grant funds, students must complete an environmental audit of their school in one or more areas (e.g. water, waste, energy, food) and create a project to address an issue identified during the audit. The student-designed projects must either reduce the school’s environmental footprint or create public awareness around environmental issues. This year in D.C., EcoRise funded re-usable cafeteria utensils, recycling receptacles, a classroom greenhouse, and a vegetable garden, to name a few.

“The enthusiasm and intensity of the students to create a campus project that considers the environment is awe-inspiring,” says Jon Stott, Deputy Director of EcoRise. “Showcasing these green projects provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate their innovative ideas to create a more sustainable place to learn.”

In Washington, D.C., Eco-Audit Grants are funded through a three-year Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant, which has supported 20 student-driven sustainability projects in the D.C. area since 2015. In addition to Eco-Audit Grants, each year EcoRise provides more than 150 D.C.-area teachers with sustainability curriculum, training, and year-round support through key partnerships with D.C. Public Schools and OSSE.

“I appreciate the in-person teacher training provided by EcoRise. Teachers can share best practices, commiserate, and collaborate. When teachers understand the content, they see the value in passing it on to their students and feel confident doing so.” Sally Parker, DCPS Energy and Sustainability Liaison.

Since 2015, EcoRise has partnered with USGBC to provide teachers with leading-edge online sustainability curriculum via the Learning Lab platform, including Eco-Audit lessons that lay the foundation for Eco-Audit Grant applications.

“USGBC believes that all students should have the opportunity to attend schools that sustain the world they live in, enhance their health and well-being, and prepare them for 21st-century careers,” says Jenny Wiedower, USGBC’s K-12 Education Manager.“ EcoRise’s Eco-Audit Grant program makes this a reality, and we’re proud to host their first D.C.-area Student Innovation Showcase. The examples of student innovation at the upcoming Showcase will highlight what is possible when action feeds curiosity, curiosity fuels learning, and learning inspires further action.”

This spring, EcoRise also hosted Student Innovation Showcases in Austin and San Antonio, Texas, with the support of the City of Austin, the City of San Antonio, and the National Wildlife Federation. In total, EcoRise awarded approximately $40,000 in Eco-Audit Grant funding to 95 student sustainability projects across the United States this school year.

“It’s been exciting to work with local communities to expand our Showcase offerings to several new cities across the country,” says Gina LaMotte, Founder and Executive Director of EcoRise. “This is an essential part of our program model and we look forward to growing it further in collaboration with our partners” added LaMotte.

You can learn more and register for the D.C. Student Innovation Showcase at https://ecorisedcshowcase.eventbrite.com.

ABOUT ECORISE:

EcoRise develops the next generation of creative problem solvers by enlivening conventional classrooms with academically aligned K–12 curriculum that introduces students to environmental literacy, social innovation, and hands-on design skills. EcoRise supports teachers in helping students solve real-world sustainability challenges concerning energy, water, waste, transportation, air quality, food, and public spaces. The program focuses on enhancing STEM education, promoting sustainability, introducing students to green careers, and helping students develop 21st-century skills. To learn more about EcoRise, visit ecorise.org.

For more information, please contact Abby Randall (abby@ecorise.org).